During December 2020, the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) gathered 25 testimonies of pushbacks, impacting a total of 707 people-on-the-move. This rounds off a year of consistent and compelling evidence collected by BVMN, exposing the systematised use of pushbacks at the European Union external border. In this report, updates cover a variety of violations including pushback practices, internal violence and the crisis around winterised shelter.
Over the last year the civil initiative Info Kolpa, a key member of the Border Violence Monitoring Network, are sharing an important victory on their applicant’s court proceedings seeking justice against the Slovenian state’s expulsion practices. This month, the administrative court established once again that the Republic of Slovenia violated the applicant’s right to prohibition of collective expulsions, his right to prohibition of torture and his right to access to the asylum procedure, by following the abbreviated procedure on the basis of the Readmission Agreement between the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Croatia, through which it handed the applicant over to the Croatian authorities in August 2019.
Info Kolpa has been assisting this applicant in court proceedings against the Slovenian state’s arbitrary expulsion proceedings for over a year and this most recent news upholds an initial ruling which was given this summer. Throughout the proceedings, since he was illegally deported to BiH by the Slovenian and Croatian police, the applicant has been caught in an increasingly inhumane situation, where the situation is deteriorating on a daily basis. It has been 21 months since he was expelled from Slovenia for the first time.
Over the last three years, the different organizations comprising the Border Violence Monitoring Network have collected nearly 150 testimonies of chain pushbacks from Slovenia to either Bosnia-Herzegovina or Serbia. These procedures have been carried out under the same, legally dubious, bilateral readmission agreement between Slovenia and Croatia as Info Kolpa’s applicant. These pushbacks continue to this day unabated, continually exposing people-on-the-move to inhuman treatment and violence through the course of the procedures.
The Border Violence Monitoring Network published 29 testimonies of violent pushbacks in November, involving severe levels of physical, psychological and structural abuse. The testimonies collected last month voice the experience of 951 people-on-the-move. This report offers analysis of the trends observed in each of these accounts, showing how law enforcement carry out these violent collective expulsions at EU borders. Continue reading “Balkan Region Report – November 2020”
Stranded at the border
News was broken last month by BVMN partner, Josoor, showing a disturbing stand-off between Greek and Turkish authorities at the Evros/Meriç river border. 70 people, including families with children and a pregnant woman, were trapped on an island which they had been forced onto during an illegal pushback conducted by Greek authorities. With neither Turkey or Greece willing to allow the group to enter their respective territories, they were stranded for days without food or water in freezing temperatures. Here, BVMN publishes a shocking letter exchange with Frontex, who refused to take any responsibility for the safety of the aforementioned individuals, despite their mandate to ensure fundamental rights.